.- As excitement builds over the upcoming marriage of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, the Catholic bishops of England and Wales have issued a prayer in honor of the couple.
“We wanted to offer our prayers and best wishes to the happy couple as they embark on their married life together and continue their service to the nation and the Commonwealth,” a spokesperson from the Catholic bishops’ conference of England and Wales told CNA on April 6.
The Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams is set to preside over the April 29 wedding, which will take place at the historic Westminster Abbey, a representative at Lambeth Palace confirmed.
Archbishop William's spokeswoman, Marie Papworth, told CNA that the Church of England head has issued his warm “congratulations” to the couple. Papworth noted that although Archbishop Williams will conduct the vows during the ceremony, Bishop of London Richard Chartes will give the homily.
The Church of England has also published a prayer in advance of the wedding for the couple to live in lifelong faithfulness to each other.
Throngs of people are expected to fill London in celebration of the wedding and an estimated 2 billion people are set to view the event on televisions worldwide. The congregation alone will be comprised of 1,900 friends and family, and the BBC is planning to have 30 cameras inside the Westminster Abbey to broadcast the ceremony.
Papworth said that in anticipation of the event, “people are applying for licenses to have street parties on the day of the wedding.”
Some 4,000 applications for parties have been filed so far across England and Wales, including one reportedly from Prime Minister David Cameron for a party outside his official Downing Street residence.
The prayer issued by the Catholic bishops of England and Wales reads:
we ask your blessing
upon his Royal Highness, Prince William and Catherine
as they pledge their love for each other in marriage.
May your love unite them through their lives.
Grant them the strength to serve you, our country and the Commonwealth
with integrity and faithfulness.
Through Christ our Lord.